This Creamy Umami Noodle Soup with Crispy Mushrooms is seriously the soup of my dreams. It’s inspired by Japanese ramen, but the broth is super creamy and it’s topped with outrageously delicious crispy mushrooms.
The broth is layered with rich, savory flavors that make this taste like a soup that’s been simmering for hours (hint: it only simmers for 5ish minutes!). It also boasts a nutty, creamy, and indulgent texture thanks to soy milk and sesame seeds. The hot broth is poured over bouncy udon noodles and then topped with crispy roasted mushrooms on top, making it a textural wonderland.
And if I haven’t convinced you yet, just know that Max, ardent mushroom hater, said this is the best soup you’ve ever made.
Why you’ll love this recipe
It’s all about the umami, baby!
Umami is the star flavor in this soup recipe thanks to the miso and soy sauce in the broth and the roasted mushrooms on top.
But miso isn’t the only flavor you’ll find! Sautéed aromatics give it a complimentary boost of savory-spicy flavor, while roasted sesame seeds add a toasty nuttiness. In short, this dreamy blend of umami-forward goodness is the perfect companion for cozy soup.
There’s something for everyone in this soup: (1) bouncy and chewy udon noodles, (2) a creamy and smooth broth, and (3) crispy mushrooms. All of these wonderful textures make every spoonful feel like a party in your mouth!
The broth is particularly dreamy. Soy milk gives it a luxurious and comforting consistency (and some protein!) while roasted sesame seeds thicken it up, making its indulgent qualities nothing short of crave-worthy.
A restaurant-style meal
The best thing about this soup is how it tastes like it was simmered for hours but only takes less than an hour from start to finish.
When I want a seriously craveworthy noodle dish, like my Spicy Chili Garlic Noodles or Gochujang Noodles, I’ll look to fresh udon noodles. These thick noodles made from wheat flour have a great tender chew and lots of bounce. They’re perfect for slurping in soups too.
You can use fresh or frozen udon noodles in this soup, which are both easy to find at East Asian grocery stores. They’re sometimes sold in vacuum-sealed shelf-stable bags as well. I recently found these shelf-stable “Thai Wheat Noodles” and they work great!
You can also buy udon noodles online, like this (affiliate link).
Substitutes: 16 ounces (450g) of fresh udon noodles = 24 ounces (680g) of frozen udon noodles or 8 to 9 ounces (250g) of dried udon or wheat noodles of your choice (just be sure to use a thick variety of noodle, not thin noodles).
Gluten-free? Either look for gluten-free dried udon or use a relatively thick rice noodle variety instead.
Other than the amazing broth, crispy mushrooms are a shining star in this recipe. They’re torn or sliced thin, roasted to crispy perfection, and served on top of the soup as a crunchy topper.
Their delicate crunch and rich umami flavor add a nice contrast to the creamy broth, taking every slurp from good to great.
You can use any variety of mushrooms: oyster, shiitake, maitake, king trumpet or king oyster, or even cremini or baby bella. I particularly love oyster mushrooms, as they get the crispiest (if your bunches are really skinny, try not to tear them too thinly, as they’ll burn in the oven).
Some of my go-tos: fresh garlic, ginger, Thai chili peppers, and scallions. Their wonderful hidden flavors emerge after being briefly sautéed, adding punchy layers of flavor to the broth.
Where to buy: You can find Thai chili peppers at East Asian grocery stores. If you can’t find them, use half of a serrano pepper or a jalapeno pepper instead. Skip entirely if you’re sensitive to spicy food.
Substitute: If you happen to have Chinese chili crisp at home, skip the chile pepper and top your soup with a spoonful for a crunchy, umami-rich finish. Our favorite brands are Momofuku Chili Crunch, Fly By Jing, and Lao Gan Ma (affiliate links). Or use both if you love spicy food like I do!
Oat or soy milk
Non-dairy milk gives the broth a wonderfully thick and decadent mouthfeel. I particularly love this with soy milk, as the soy-sesame flavor is a favorite of mine, but oat milk works fine too.
Tip: The more minimally processed your soy milk, the more likely it is to really thicken the broth. If your broth is too thick for your liking, just thin it out with more vegetable or mushroom broth.
This adds a slightly fruity pepperiness to the broth.
Where to buy: You can find white pepper at many well-stocked grocery stores, as well as in East Asian grocery stores or online (affiliate link). Any extras can be used in my Tofu Stir Fry or Creamy Coconut Rice with Five Spice Tofu.
If you can’t find white pepper, use black pepper instead, but start with half of the amount.
We initially tested this recipe with a homemade mushroom broth made from dried mushrooms and kombu, and while it’s delicious, it’s time-consuming and we found you could still get great savory flavor using high-quality store-bought broth.
If you can find it, use a mushroom broth like this, mushroom bouillon (affiliate link), “vegan chicken” bouillon, or some sort of “umami broth” to achieve the best flavor.
If you can only find standard vegetable broth, taste the broth and add more miso or soy sauce as needed to give it an extra boost of savory and umami flavors. My favorite store-bought standard vegetable broth is from Imagine Organic.
Or, if you have a little extra time, you can make a homemade vegan Japanese dashi and use that as your broth. See the FAQ for instructions.
And of course, if you’re into making your own broth, the homemade mushroom broth in Chapter 1 of my cookbook, The Vegan Instant Pot Cookbook, would be a fantastic choice. Leftovers freeze well, too.
How to roast mushrooms
For delicate mushrooms, like oyster or maitake, slice off any tough white stems. Then use your hands to tear them into strips. Try to tear them as evenly as you can, as very thin mushrooms will burn in the oven.
For skinny mushrooms like beech mushrooms, leave them whole (just trim the bottom ends).
For sturdier mushrooms like shiitake and cremini (AKA baby bella), slice them thinly.
Place the mushrooms on a sheet pan and drizzle the oil over top. Toss to coat, then season with kosher salt. Spread them out into an even layer across two sheet pans so they aren’t overlapping too much.
NOTE: You can use parchment paper to line your sheet pans for easier cleanup, but the mushrooms won’t get as crispy.
Roast the mushrooms, making sure to stir them halfway through the cooking time, until they are browned and crispy.
After 15 minutes, consolidate all of the mushrooms onto one of the sheet pans (they’ll have shrunk down by now so it’s okay if they overlap a little).
Continue roasting in the oven for about 10 minutes until deeply browned and crispy.
Tips for making this recipe
Shop at your local East Asian grocery store
If you have a local East Asian grocery store, you’ll find all the ingredients you need: fresh or frozen udon noodles, a wide variety of mushrooms, miso, tamari, and more (usually for a lower price!).
To the extent possible, try to tear and slice the mushrooms into uniform sizes so they crisp up evenly and don’t burn.
To slice them, either use a sharp chef’s knife to slice the tougher mushrooms (cremini, shiitake, etc.) or use your hands to carefully rip the softer mushrooms (oyster, maitake, etc.).
If you use oyster mushrooms like I do, if you have several bunches to choose from, opt for the bigger, fuller bunches instead of the skinny, stringy clusters. The skinny ones burn more easily.
Adjust the broth to your preferences
Depending on the type of milk you use, the creamy broth might end up getting too creamy for your liking (as it simmers, the proteins in soy milk and fat in sesame seeds thicken it up).
If the broth gets too thick, simply add a few splashes of more vegetable or mushroom broth while the broth simmers and whisk. Add more as needed until you reach your desired consistency.
Save time with multitasking
You can get this gourmet, life-changing soup on the table in under an hour if you multitask! While the mushrooms are roasting in the oven, prepare the noodles and broth. And while you wait for the aromatics to cook, add the other broth ingredients to the blender.
Grind the sesame seeds, as needed
If you don’t have a high-powered blender, you may want to add the sesame seeds to a mortar and pestle or electric spice grinder and grind until mostly crushed. They don’t need to be completely crushed, but if added whole to your blender, they might not get fully blended into the broth.
Save the leftover broth
Got leftover mushroom broth? Use it in my Mushroom Risotto or Creamy Vegan Mushroom Soup. To keep it longer, freeze the broth in 1-cup portions (I like freezing broth in these Souper Cubes – affiliate link).
Frequently Asked Questions
We love this soup with oyster mushrooms (or maitake mushrooms) because they’re easy to shred and crisp up amazingly well.
However, almost any variety of mushrooms can be used, such as shiitake, king trumpet or king oyster, cremini/baby bella (which are the least expensive).
If you have access to different varieties, a mix is always nice for a variety of textures and flavors. In these photos, I used a mix of oyster mushrooms, shiitake, cremini, and brown beech mushrooms.
You can usually find different mushroom varieties at farmer’s markets, well-stocked grocery stores like Whole Foods and Sprouts, and Asian grocery stores.
Wipe off any visible dirt patches with a dry, thin dish towel or paper towel (or pastry brush, if you have the time). Button mushrooms typically have quite a bit of dirt, but many mushroom varieties are grown in indoor farms these days and are relatively clean.
Hear me out: crispy oven-baked mushrooms may turn you into a mushroom lover because they don’t have the same texture as standard cooked mushrooms (they’re crispy)!. Plus, they have an amazing savory flavor.
And even my partner, who hates mushrooms, says this is his favorite soup I’ve ever made.
If I haven’t convinced you yet, you can make the broth as normal but top it with cubes of baked tofu. You can either make my baked tofu recipe or use store-bought pre-baked tofu. Or, you can slice, spoon, or cut some silken tofu, and add it to the broth during the last few minutes.
Another option would be to simply stir in some shelled edamame instead of the mushrooms.
To make this gluten-free, use gluten-free soy sauce or tamari and gluten-free noodles (see the Ingredient Notes section for more details).
First, only cook the amount of noodles you need, if possible. After the broth has cooled, store the leftover broth in an airtight container in the fridge. Store the mushrooms in a separate container in the fridge.
To reheat, pour the broth into a pot and heat over medium-low, whisking from time to time. If some of the broth has solidified pieces (from soy milk or sesame seeds), don’t worry, as reheating will bring it back to a liquid state.
To reheat the mushrooms, heat a frying pan over medium to medium-high heat with just a tiny bit of oil. Once hot, add the mushrooms, and toss occasionally. Cook until heated through and they’ve crisped back up.
The noodles are best cooked fresh.
If you don’t have store-bought mushroom broth but still want great flavor, try this easy vegan dashi (i.e., Japanese soup stock).
1. Snip 1 piece (5g) of kombu with scissors in a few places. Add to a large glass or measuring cup along with 3 dried shiitake mushrooms (9 to 10g). Pour 1 1/2 cups (180 mL) water on top and place a small bowl on top to keep the mushrooms submerged.
2. Soak for 30 minutes (or for several hours), while you prep the other ingredients.
3. Set a fine mesh sieve over a bowl. Strain the liquid to catch any sediment, reserving the stock. Remove the kombu and discard, but you can save the mushrooms (rinse them several times until the sediment is gone).
4. Add the stock and rehydrated mushrooms to the blender when you blend up the broth.
More East Asian noodle recipes to try!
If you love this Creamy Umami Noodle Soup with Crispy Mushrooms, please be sure to leave a rating and review below! And tag me on Instagram – I love seeing your remakes!
- 16 to 20 oz (450 to 570g) mixed mushrooms, (e.g., oyster, shiitake, maitake, king trumpet or oyster, cremini)
- 2 tablespoons neutral-flavored oil
- Kosher salt
Noodles and Broth
- 16 ounces (450g) fresh udon noodles (see Note 1 for sub)
- 1 tablespoon neutral-flavored oil
- 6 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 ½ inch piece ginger, peeled and finely chopped
- 1 bunch scallions, sliced (thinly slice dark green tops for garnish)
- 2 to 4 Thai chili peppers, thinly sliced (see Note 2)
- 1 to 2 cups (240 to 480 mL) mushroom broth (see Note 3 for sub)
- 2 cups (480 mL) unsweetened soy milk (or oat milk)
- ¼ cup (32g) roasted white sesame seeds (see Note 4)
- 2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons tamari or soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons white miso
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- ¼ teaspoon white pepper
- Toasted sesame oil, for drizzling
- Topping options: scallion greens, Chinese chili crisp, thinly sliced fresh chili peppers
- Arrange a rack in the top third and in the bottom of the oven. Preheat to 425ºF/220ºC. Brush two rimmed sheet pans with oil to prevent sticking.
- For soft mushrooms, use your hands to tear them into thin strips (e.g., oyster, maitake). For tougher mushrooms (e.g., shiitake or cremini), slice them quite thinly (see Note 5).
- Divide mushrooms across the two pans and drizzle with the 2 TBSP oil. Toss well to coat (if they feel very dry, add a bit more oil). Season with salt (about ¾ tsp kosher salt) and toss again. Spread out on the pan. It’s okay if some touch, but they shouldn't overlap on top of one another.
- Roast for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and stir with a spatula. Consolidate all the mushrooms onto just one pan and spread out. Roast for 10 more minutes, or until mushrooms are browned and crispy.
Noodles and Broth
- While the mushrooms roast, bring a medium or large saucepan of water to a boil. Cook the noodles according to the package, then drain. Drizzle noodles with a little toasted sesame oil and set aside. Return the saucepan to the stove.
- Heat a medium frying pan over medium heat with the 1 tablespoon oil. Once hot, add the garlic, ginger, scallion whites and light greens, and chili peppers. Cook, stirring frequently, until the aromatics have a little color and are very fragrant, 3 to 4 minutes. If there are lots of browned bits, add a splash of water and deglaze. Take off the heat and transfer to a stand blender.
- To the blender, add 1 cup (240 mL) mushroom (or vegetable) broth, soy milk, sesame seeds, 2 tablespoons soy sauce, miso, rice vinegar, and white pepper.Blend until smooth and creamy. Taste, adding the additional 2 teaspoons of soy sauce as needed. You want the broth to be quite salty and savory.
- Pour the broth into the saucepan. Gradually bring to a gentle simmer over medium-low heat. Warm until hot, 4 to 6 minutes, whisking frequently (it will bubble up if you ignore it). NOTE: If the broth gets very thick, add more of the mushroom broth or vegetable broth. When using soy milk, I typically add up to ½ cup (120 mL) additional mushroom broth.
- Divide noodles among four bowls. Whisk the hot broth, then pour it on top of the noodles. Top with crispy mushrooms. Garnish with scallion greens and a drizzle of toasted sesame oil. If desired, finish with a spoon of Chinese chili crisp or sliced chili peppers.